Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:34 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Magic Johnson wants to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers?
As the Angels and Albert Pujols threaten to eclipse the Dodgers in what is shaping up as an epic battle for baseball supremacy in Southern California, beleaguered Dodgers fans can only wonder what if.
In a story last weekend, Magic joked to the Los Angeles Times that if he owned the Dodgers, he would be knocking on Albert Pujols' door "at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of free agency."
Posted on: September 30, 2011 6:33 pm
The Los Angeles Angels of Desperationville didn't fire a general manager on Friday, they canned an executive secretary.
Everybody knows that owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia -- and Moreno and Scioscia alone -- run the Angels.
Somebody's gotta phone the agents and other general managers, take notes, collect information and make sure Moreno and Scioscia have enough of it to make their decisions.
That man was Reagins, a nice guy who was both badly overmatched and uncomfortable in the gig from Day One.
Now, somebody else will take the notes, make the calls and bring the information to Moreno and Scioscia so they can gather the information they need to take the Angels wherever they go from here.
And where that is is anybody's guess right now.
The Angels did not make the playoffs in 2011 -- or, in 2010, for that matter -- because the Texas Rangers are a better and smarter organization right now that has whipped them both on the field and in the executive offices.
The only reason the Angels remained competitive this summer was because of the boost young players like Mark Trumbo, Tyler Chatwood, Peter Bourjos and, yes, late in the season, Mike Trout provided.
And the man responsible for drafting them, Eddie Bane, was fired as the scouting director after last season.
Fact is, under Moreno, the Angels have become more adept at firings the past couple of years than postseasons.
They fired longtime trainer Ned Bergert last winter after 36 years in the organization. They canned Bane. A major league scout named Dale Sutherland who had been in the organization for 19 years. They've callously laid off longtime media relations employees in recent years who worked incredibly long hours and had devoted their lives to the cause.
They can call Reagins' departure a resignation if they want. But when the second paragraph of the news release contains a statement from Moreno saying, "Though we finished 2011 with a winning record, we remained short of our objective in winning a championship. In moving forward, we felt a change was needed", that's a firing.
Moreno got years of great publicity after the first thing he did as owner was lower stadium beer prices, but his ownership clearly is at a crossroads right now. Though he talks the talk of winning championships, he's consistently failed in the free agent market over the past several winters: Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre, among others.
Bottom line, the Angels' actions jibe with their words less and less frequently. The organization has become soulless, and disingenuous.
Reagins certainly wasn't the cause of this, only a symptom. He clearly was carrying out others' orders as a GM, while the real stuff was going on behind the curtain.
The Angels can hire another GM. But until they change the process, until that GM isn't just a puppet on a string, the gap between the Rangers and Angels is going to continue to grow.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:31 pm
Of hurricanes, Orioles and White Sox ... which really aren't all that different, when you think about it:
FROM: Nick D.
Re.: Last-place Orioles remain stuck in familiar late-season rut
I started to read this article and then I stopped. ... Stop writing articles giving me hope for my woefully bad O's. I read these every year and every year they're the foundation holding up the AL East. Stop. Please. You people keep opening the same wound.
Next time I'll bring the cotton balls and hydrogen peroxide.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Rain postponements taking toll on 2011 - then comes Irene
The fact that fans who purchased tickets to Saturday's games at Fenway Park had to wait out those delays is absurd. The greed of the organization is the reason. They did not want to have to cancel the games and reschedule, or God forbid they would have to offer refunds or tickets to an alternate game. To try to play those games through the hurricane was absurd. It is frustrating to read your articles because none of this is mentioned and you show an unreasonable bias to the Yankees. If it was the Yankees organization that did this, you would be the first one criticizing them.
The Red Sox were so greedy they let fans into Fenway for free following the rain delay in Game 2 Saturday.Appalling, wasn't it? It's called trying to make sure the games get played when there is precious little time left in the season to reschedule them, mister.
There is no reason to have rainouts anymore. If a small-market team like Seattle can have a retractable roof stadium, why haven't the BIG GUNS protected game revenues with new Stadiums, including retracting covers. Hellloooo Yankees!
Put a retractable roof on Yankee Stadium, the ghost of Babe Ruth will rip his plaque out of Monument Park and install it somewhere in Montana.
FROM: J D
Hey, Miller ... More Yankee bashing, huh? Shocking. And you're not right. Like Joe Girardi said, a lot of other games in baseball and other sports changed their schedules to be amenable to Hurricane Irene. They still could have played an actual DH, not split, and honored Flanagan -- which the Yankees did the night before in very good form, btw, before their game with the A's. Or they could have played a game on Saturday in the early morning before the storm hit. It's all about the fact of the O's not wanting to lose a gate in one of the rare times they would actually make some money with the Yankees in town. Now, the Yankees will have to use up one of their rare September off days to play a game in Baltimore after finishing up a three-game series with the aforementioned O's the very next day, and with a long West Coast road trip looming. ... And way not to mention the Red Sox's unwavering interest in getting both games in no matter what the weather to improve their standings and keep a September off day.
You lost credibility with the sentence "And you're not right." Because, fact is, I'm almost always right. Including on this topic.
FROM: Jack L.
Re.: Up-and-down White Sox look to final month to save season
I'm a lifelong, die-hard White Sox fan who literally follows the team hour by hour, not just day by day. You did a very nice job of summing this season up. The only difference between being a gawker checking out a freeway wreck in the other direction and watching the White Sox play this year is that the freeway wreck is at least somewhat interesting, even if you can't really see much of it. IMHO, Kenny Williams is clearly the guy that needs to go. Trader Kenny completely lost his touch with the first stinker of a Nick Swisher trade and has just made one bad move after another ever since save for unloading Edwin Jackson prior to the trade deadline.
At least don't follow the White Sox minute by minute. Think how miserable you'd be then.
Fire Kenny Williams, he sucks as a GM. It's been his signings that brought the White Sox four of the worst contracts in White Sox history. Let's not forget the Manny Ramirez deal last year as well after letting Jim Thome slip away. The Sox paid Ramirez multiple times what Thome was paid all year for one month of services. If not for Zambrano's and Soriano's contracts on the North Side, Williams would really be exposed for the horrible GM he has been. I think the players enjoy playing for Ozzie Guillen, and he has gotten a lot out his players considering the start the Sox have had in the last two years.
According to my Love Letters readers' poll, Williams' approval rating drastically trail those of Guillen.
FROM: Mike M.
Love your work. Love it if you could do a story about the Angels owner (Arte Moreno) vs. Scott Boras and include why Boras has that ground level box behind home plate at Anaheim Stadium. Boras looks like an idiot standing in the TV background of most pitches while he talks on his cell or works his laptop. As a Mariner fan I laugh thinking what Angels fans think about seeing him all the time.
It's a simple, economical issue: Boras' company purchases that ground-level suite with old-fashioned greenbacks. But while you may laugh, think of all the advertising that TV time translates into for hundreds of players who might be watching in other cities and contemplating what Boras could do for them.
Re.: Weekend Buzz: Yanks getting stronger down the stretch
Scott, while I respect your opinion, how has the Yankees pitching been woeful? Their ERA is better than Detroit, Boston, and Texas's, their bullpen ERA is the best in baseball, and outside of A.J. Burnett, no one on that staff has been woeful outside of Phil Hughes before his injury. Right now, Ivan Nova and Hughes are pitching as well as anyone, CC Sabathia is an ace, and between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, the Yankees have a respectable four starter for the playoffs. It just makes no sense why people are so quick to discredit the Yankees pitching without looking up the numbers.
If you read the column, and not just the headline and sub-head, you'd have your answer: I was EXAGGERATING, teasing Yankees' fans for being so quick to panic.
Likes: LA Marathon founder Bill Burke making a $1.2 billion bid for the Dodgers. It's funded in part by Chinese investors, and wow, think how much fun we all could have with THAT. Great take by Harold Meyerson in Friday's LA Times on the op-ed page: "There's no need to rehash the McCourts' destruction of one of American sports' most fabled and successful franchises. At this point, anyone who takes the team off their hands would be a better owner, right? Could there really be a more problematic proprietor? And then, along comes China." ... Absolutely loved Thursday's A-1 headline in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Obama jobs speech up against Packers opener." ... Good job, Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High, getting on the board with a 12-6 win over New Boston Huron on Thursday after a tough opening week loss.
Dislikes: Sports Illustrated's rare regional covers. I know, business is business. But I'm old school and I don't like not having a particular cover.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"What's keeping you, keep pouring drinks
"For all these palookas, hey you know what I thinks
"That we toast to the old days and DiMaggio too
"And old Drysdale and Mantle, Whitey Ford and to you"
-- Tom Waits, A Sight For Sore Eyes
Posted on: September 10, 2008 8:39 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Baseball's first clincher of the summer was an unusual one: The Los Angeles Angels finished their part of it by polishing off the New York Yankees 4-2 Wednesday. Then they retired to their clubhouse to watch the Texas-Seattle game.
For a team clinching so early, the Los Angeles Angels sure had to wait around awhile.
After closer Francisco Rodriguez, appropriately, fanned Hideki Matsui for the game's final out, some 72 minutes later, Seattle outlasted Texas 8-7 and the Angels popped the corks on their fourth AL West title in the past five seasons.
It's the earliest clinch ever in the AL West, and the delayed reaction didn't seem to deflate the instant gratification.
Several hundred eager fans had stayed to watch the Texas-Seattle conclusion on the scoreboard, and moments after it ended, the Angels immediately sprinted out of their clubhouse and onto the field to begin the celebration.
The highlight? Reliever Jose Arredondo somehow commandeering the grounds crew's infield garden hose and drenching teammates before spraying it into the stands to toast the fans. The Anaheim Fire Dept. would have been proud.
"Did you see the water hose, spraying everybody?" outfielder Torii Hunter exclaimed. "That's impressive!"
"It was perfect, man," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said, agreeing Arredondo gets an 'A' for creativity. "He got some of the fans, too. They loved it!"
Owner Arte Moreno spoke of wanting a "big finish" to gain October home-field advantage -- the Angels currently own baseball's best record and, as such, would have home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs -- and spoke of needing 11 wins in October to earn World Series rings.
He, like many around the club, thinks this might be the Angels' deepest playoff team.
"Last year we were banged up," he said. "The last few years, we ... didn't have the depth. This year, everybody was saying we have too many outfielders, too many pitchers. But it's such a long season.
"It's a team deal. I'd like to think we're getting close."
While the waiting around for official clinching word was unusual, what wasn't was this: The Angels were steered to the dock Wednesday by Rodriguez, who continued zeroing in on Bobby Thigpen's all-time saves record by scooping up his 56th of the season.
K-Rod, who will become one of the hottest free agents on the market this winter, will tie Thigpen's record 57 with his next save and should easily break the record by season's end. He's currently on pace for 62.
An Angels' official said that Thigpen isn't expected to be on hand when his record falls, but the club has been in contact with him through the Chicago White Sox and some sort of gesture is expected.
"It's almost magical the way things have fallen into place," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's as consistent as anybody I've seen. He turns the page better than anybody I've been around."
While it finally was a relief to the Angels to have wrapped up the division despite the large lead, it will be a similar feeling for Rodriguez when he finally passes Thigpen.
"I feel like I have 10,000 pounds on my shoulders," he said in Chicago last weekend. "I would like to get it over. ... That would be awesome. To break the record and clinch, take those 10,000 pounds off my shoulder on the same day -- that would be nice."
The Angels beat him to one of those finish lines.
Now, the team that leads the majors in both number of games decided by two runs or fewer (81) and number of victories in those games (54), can enjoy the regular-season conclusion of K-Rod's ride.
"It's a huge accomplishment," says starter John Lackey, who broke in with Rodriguez in the minors and says he once taught the Venezuelan some English words ("not good ones, either.") "It says a great deal about his ability.
"The guy has been fearless since he's been in the league. Whether the leadoff guy gets on or he goes 1-2-3, he gets it done. Maybe he's lost a little velocity over the years, but he still gets it done."
And if the Angels have their way, they'll again provide the World Series stage where Rodriguez first rocketed to national prominence, in 2002 against San Francisco.
"He means a lot to us," Scioscia says. "And, hopefully, he will mean even more."